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Bariatric Bypass Surgeries Up Sharply in Wisconsin
More patients than surgeons can handle
Madison (April 6, 2004)— The morbidly obese in Wisconsin are taking
advantage of bariatric surgery in greater numbers, but a Wisconsin Medical
Journal study released today says surgeons who perform gastric bypass operations
cannot keep up with the patient demand.
“The number of gastric bypass surgeries performed in Wisconsin more than
doubled in 1 year, from 182 in 2001 to 426 in 2002,” write University of
Wisconsin-Madison researchers. The increased surgery rate has followed the rise
in obesity. “In Wisconsin, the percentage of the adults considered to be obese
increased from 11% in 1990 to 22% in 2001,” the researchers report. In 1999-
2001, Wisconsin had approximately 80,000 morbidly obese residents. A woman
whose height is 5’6” and weighs 250 pounds is considered obese, as is a 5’11” man
who weighed 290 pounds.
In an accompanying article by three UW bariatric surgeons, it’s estimated
that through the surgery, “morbidly obese patients may expect to lose about 60%-
70% of their excess weight.” Hernias and wound infections are listed as the most
common risks associated with the procedure, which costs $20,000-$30,000.
Despite the high cost and general lack of insurance coverage, the authors of
the Wisconsin Medical Journal study say evidence shows the procedure is cost
effective because it prevents more costly health problems related to obesity.
“Bariatric surgery may be the only modality we can offer that provides any
significant long term weight loss to the morbidly obese,” the authors write. “The
potential demand for surgery far exceeds the current capacity of surgeons in the
state,” they conclude.
The complete Wisconsin Medical Journal study and accompanying article
may be found on wisconsinmedicalsociety.org
WMJ is the official publication of the Wisconsin Medical Society--the
largest association of medical doctors in the state with 10,000 members dedicated
to the best interests of their patients. With that in mind,
Wisconsinmedicalsociety.org offers patients a unique source for reliable,
physician-reviewed medical information. The Wisconsin Medical Society, a
trusted source for health policy leadership since 1841. Your Doctor. Your Health.